"Greetings" seems to be an appropriate title for my first blog post. I thought that, since I spend a considerable amount of time logged in to chess.com, I should write a blog. Maybe I might have something interesting to say. Also, it is appropriate because the focus of this topic shall be Greeters.
It was interesting browsing the forums the other day; quite a few mentioned greeters and were interesting to read. One point that came up quite a lot is that the new members sometimes don't speak, or even move, and it's a waste of a game, unrated or not. Ironically enough for me, when I had just become a member of chess.com, this happened in reverse; I made my moves, and my (silent) greeter timed out. (Not that I'm complaining). Not discouraged by anything I had read (why would I be; the forums are by and large a good place for general constructive discussion), I signed up to be a greeter.
Well, I have to confess I was not expecting what came next! Within a few minutes I had 5 greeter games on my hands. (I have since lowered the maximum to three). Since this was a slow day for all my other games, this was a massive quickening of the pace. Some of the games have, as I was forewarned, gone nowhere, but one was thankful for the game and won even challenged me to a rematch. Only one of them has been particularly chatty.
This brings me to my next point; a point covered well in the forums (I'd provide a link if I was able to find it again) - what is ethical play when being a greeter? Does one play to win; or play to win as convincingly as normal? A question worthy of deliberation! I would say if you are rated below 1500, play your normal game. But that does not apply to me; I am currently 1957. The last thing we greeters want to do is give the newcomer such a hiding that they run for the hills after one game. On the other hand, how would your opponent react if they were to win, only to find out that they had been given it? That would probably hurt more than a defeat.
Reading through the forum topic, I settled on what I thought the best solution to this is. I cannot play to lose or draw. For one thing, it's not my style, but more pertinently, it is unprofessional; the fact the game is unrated is irrelevant. So I intend to win the game; but how? Well, if it's clear I'm in for an easy ride, I will lessen the blow with some friendly chat and hints and tips. Occasionally I will hint that a particularly dangerous attack is looming. But this is not the main strategy. The big decision I took (again, others had the idea before me), is play to win, "normally", but to use it as an opportunity to practice new openings. Since I say in my public profile that I am known for my unorthodox openings, I should live up to it. There are plenty new things I could try. Since my theory will be in its rudimentary stages, there is a chance I will play weakly, but not deliberately. Next up, I might try out that Sicilian Defence; that's a new one
Let's finish by switching back to the Newcomer's point of view. When I played against a greeter in my first game, I would have been disappointed had he not played to win. What sort of game is that? If, however, I were to find out he had been playing to win, although trying a new opening, I'd have been fine with that. So, if you are reading this, and I was ever your greeter, and you won, you know full well you earned it!